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Coach Mark Smallwood from Rodale Institute is on a 14-day walk to Washington, DC. to hand-deliver research on how organic farming can reverse climate change. (Photo credit: Rodale Institute)

Can Organic Agriculture Reverse Climate Change?

Mark 'Coach' Smallwood

 by EcoWatch

Over the last 14 days, I have been on a walk. A walk that, I hope, will change the way that we look a climate change and think about how we can reverse this disastrous phenomenon.

Each day I walk ten miles, on a journey from the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, PA to Washington, DC. Along the way, I have had the honor of meeting with farmers, local public officials, community members, students and activists. Every person I meet is impacted by the effects of climate change. From the disastrous hail storm that occurred in Reading, PA in May to the local fisherman and their concern that Atrazine was found in spawning beds of small mouth bass in the Susquehanna River. Climate change affects us all and the impact and destruction caused by catastrophic weather events is more noticeable with each passing year.

Along the way, I continue to tell people that climate change is a gift. This is Mother Nature’s way of letting us know that she is sick. We have broken our ecological systems and only we can fix it. I have data that proves that a global transition to regenerative organic agriculture can reverse climate change.

The process is actually quite simple—we work with nature to use photosynthesis and healthy soil biology to draw down greenhouse gases.

There are four steps to the process:

  1. Photosynthesis: The process plants use to change carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into oxygen and carbon-based sugars.
  1. Nutrient Exchange: Carbon-based sugars ooze out of the plant’s roots to feed micro-organisms, mostly bacteria and fungi, living in the soil nearby. Microorganisms transform organic matter and soil minerals into plant-available nutrients.
  1. Capturing carbon: Temporary root sugars and dead organic materials (e.g. plant debris and compost) are eaten by microorganisms and converted into more stable materials to store carbon in the soil for decades to centuries.
  1. Restoring balance, reversing climate change: More photosynthesis means more sugars, which means microorganisms will thrive. Healthy micro-organisms create abundant nutrients for plants. Building healthy soil and eliminating the use of toxic agricultural chemicals and practices brings carbon levels back into balance, reversing climate change.

On Oct. 16—two days from now—I will arrive in Washington, DC and will hand deliver this research to our elected officials.

We must bring awareness to this research and encourage the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Congress to create legislation that supports organic farmers. Only organic farming can stop the chaos that we have created—chaos that is deeply impacting our environment on so many levels.

I need your help to make sure that our voices are heard when we arrive in Washington, DC. Please, get involved. Make sure this message about the powerful, positive impact of regenerative organic agriculture is known.

  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily updates on the walk.  Share these update with your network of friends, family and colleagues.
  • Join our ‘Organic Planet’twitter chat tonight, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. ET with Only Organic using the hashtag,#organicplanet
  • Go to www.crowdrise.com/organicplanet and make a donation to support our work with organic farmers. Donations of every amount are welcome and appreciated.

I know that, together, we can make sure that our voices are heard. We can encourage congress to create legislation that supports organic farmers and incentivizes conventional farmer to transition. Together, we can truly regenerate our planet—creating a better environment for our children and grandchildren to grow, live and thrive.

Along the route, I spoke to a reporter who said, “Reversing climate change through organic agriculture? This just sounds too good to be true.”

Well, I’m happy to say that is good and it is true.


© 2021 EcoWatch

Mark 'Coach' Smallwood

Mark 'Coach' Smallwood is the executive director of the Rodale Institute, the Pennsylvania-based non-profit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach.

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